Work-Life Balance: 8 Tips for Frequent Business Traveler in 2019

Maintaining a work-family balance has never been easy for frequent business traveler.

After about seven years of working on wind farm projects, I was fully aware of the pros and cons of frequent travel. During that period, I often left home for a few days or weeks, which led to a complicated feeling about this job. It really benefits me in many ways, just as I discussed in 7 Benefits of Project-based Business Travel.

At the same time, its disadvantages also make me clearly realize the importance of work-life balance. If you have a family, even children, it’s not easy to spend this much time apart. You need to think seriously how to achieve work-life balance. In fact, it has become the most concerned issue for frequent business travelers. In my career, I have encountered many difficulties and challenges brought by frequent business trips, but I have gradually overcome them with my own efforts and formed some insights. Here are some tips for you when traveling too much for the job.

1. It’s critical that the nature of work are communicated early.

I think one of the most important conversations you need to have with your spouse before you enter into an industry that requires a lot of business travel, is the nature of that work. You are on the road 35 weeks of the year, which makes it a luxury to share housework with your spouse or accompany your children to have breakfast every day, hence it is crucial to discuss with your spouse how it will affect your lives ahead of time.

Whether your spouse is an office worker or a stay-at-home mom/dad, there is no doubt that your frequent business travels will make her or him have to make more efforts to manage family, so you should have your partner’s full support before you officially decide on a travel job.

Is a job suitable for you depends on many factors, you need to first take your family status into consideration. If you’re a very homesick person or a single parent who’s also attending school part-time, frequent business travel probably isn’t for you.

2. Take care of yourself during business travel.

Your family is counting on you so much, therefore, you should make the extra effort to keep looking after yourself, which means seriously solve the problems of safety, health, hygiene, etc during travel. If you have to eat out, choose a light diet as far as possible and do not increase the burden on your stomach. Try to look for a gym in hotel or somewhere nearby, and exercise in the morning.

If it is an on-site work such as construction management, you need to pay extra attention to your safety. In addition, hotel hygiene issues must be properly addressed, and you can take 4 solutions for Hygiene Problems of Hotel as a reference and find out your own approach. When done right, you are able to handle everything well and enjoy yourself during at the same time even the most onerous travel.

Also, you should stay productive during your business trip, otherwise it may interfere with your scheduled time back home, or you may have to do some after-care work after you return home.

3. Overcome the guilt of not caring for your family.

I have been troubled by this guilty problem for a long time during my travel work, and It’s never easy to spend so much time apart. When it comes to raising a child, too much separation gave me the idea like “I’m not doing enough for my wife and kid, I’m gonna be a horrible father!”. It was a long time before I gradually formed some new ideas that helped me overcome my guilt.

Firstly, you should realize and accept that there will always be trade-offs, and you have to be very clear about why you’re making trade-offs like this. You have figured out what you’re fighting for and what you really don’t want to lose only after you spend too much experience and emotion on your business trip. It is absolutely perfect to accompany your family to eat every breakfast and your children to play every football, but the truth is that life is full of sacrifice and compromise, you have to deal with something more important at some point. In fact, there is no perfect way for you or anyone else. You should also know that your children actually don’t need you to show up at their every trophy and moment, which means you don’t have to be super-parent.

Secondly, since a job requires a lot of business travel usually makes good money, if do your job well, you will eventually benefit your family and provide them with better living conditions. When it’s all about perspective, you should look on the bright side.

4. Keep close contact with your family.

Whether you are managing a construction site, maintaining customer relationship, or attending a meeting, you can always take some photos and send them to your family during your travel. When off the work, block out time and use FaceTime or Line to talk to family over video as long as you have a WiFi connection, share your experiences with your family. Children will like your novel experiences on business travel because they seldom have the chance to see wind turbines, large shield machines, or exotic scenery.

There is a very important point to add that if an urgent task causes you to spend more time on travel, or you have to cancel your trip home to go to the next project, communicate with your family for understanding immediately.

5. Plan and make full use of your time at home.

Let your family know ahead of time that when you return from business travel and plan together what exciting things to do. Such as going to a movie, an amusement park, or playing baseball together.

When you get home, you can completely cut off from work and be with your kids 24/7, make up the lost time, You should understand that accompany your family consciously and wholeheartedly is the top priority that really matters to you.

6. Take your family with you on travel.

If you travel to maintain customer relationship or attend a meeting instead of a construction project, then you can consider bringing your family along. All you need to do is add several days onto the beginning or end of your travel, plan your spouse’s round trip in detail and flexibly.

If the age is right and the circumstances permit, you can even bring your child with you. They will make your travel more exciting and meaningful. However, it is not always easy to take children on business trips, you’d better get more advice from The Dos And Don’ts Of Taking Your Kids On A Business Trip.

7. Ask your boss for time off as compensation for time spent traveling.

Some young companies offer flexible rotation system or work schedule for employees who travel frequently, or allow staff to carry out their duties partially from home, which means they can spend much more time with family. These companies are excellent choices for you. Don’t be discouraged if your company isn’t one of them. You can ask your boss for time off to make up for too much business travel.

If the plentiful trip has a great impact on your life and you haven’t found an effective solution, you should consider moving to another department or even a new company to find a new different job.

8. Seek professional help

If, out of luck, too much business travel has caused marital problems that cannot be successfully resolved through communication, you may need professional help. Talking with a professional — such as a counselor or marriage expert, will be of great help. Marital problems are so complex that both spouses may fail to see the real core of the problem. Experts can help you analyze problems and come up with better solutions.

What we need to know is that work-life balance is a continuous process rather than a one-shot deal. You need to periodically review your work, family, and life, and make adjustments to eliminate and minimize those downsides.

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